As a hen mothers her chicks, mother particular knowings, particular doings, in reality.
Since, in truth, bondage and freedom are relative, these words are only for those terrified with the universe. This universe is a reflection of minds. As you see many suns in water from one sun, so see bondage and liberation.
Hui-neng had asked a person, “What is the problem? What are the roots so that man can be solved and man can make some efforts to know who he is?”
Why shouldn’t he know without any effort? Why should there be any problem at all? You are, you know you are – so why can’t you know who you are? Where do you miss? You are conscious. You are conscious that you are conscious. A life is there; you are alive. Why are you not aware who you are? What becomes the barrier? What prevents you from this basic self-knowledge? If you can understand the barrier, the barrier can be dissolved very easily.
So the real question is not how to know oneself. The real question is to know how you are not knowing yourself, how you are missing such an obvious reality, such a basic truth which is so near to you, how you go on not seeing. You must have created a device; otherwise it is difficult to escape from oneself. You must have created walls; you must, in some sense, be deceiving yourself.
So what is that trick of escaping from oneself, of not knowing oneself? If you don’t understand that trick, whatsoever you do will not be of any help – because the trick remains, and you go on asking how to know oneself, how to know the truth, how to know the reality, and consequently you go on helping the barrier. You go on creating it also, so whatsoever you do will be of no use.
Really, nothing positive is needed to know oneself, only something negative. In a way, you have only to destroy the barrier that you yourself have constructed, and the moment that barrier is not there you will know. Knowing happens when the barrier is not; you cannot make any positive effort for it. You have just to be aware of how you are missing it.
So a few things have to be understood as to how you are missing it. One: you live in your dreams, and then dreams become barriers. Reality is not a dream. It is there, you are surrounded by it everywhere. Inside and outside, it is there – you cannot miss it – but you are dreaming. Then you move in a different dimension which is not a reality. Then you go on moving in a dreamworld. Then dreams become like clouds around you, and they create the barrier. Unless mind ceases dreaming, the truth cannot be known. And when you see through dreams the reality is distorted, and your eyes are filled with dreams, and your ears are filled with dreams, and your hands are filled with dreams.